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First Convertible Bond ETF Starts Trading

State Street has launched the first convertible bond ETF.

The SPDR Barclays Capital Convertible Bond ETF (CWB) tracks the Barclays Capital U.S. Convertible Bond >$500MM Index.

156 issues are included in the Convertible Index and the Fund’s expense ratio is 0.40 percent.

Convertible bonds are bonds that can be exchanged, at the option of the holder, for a specific number of shares of the issuer’s preferred or common stock.

ETF Advisor Marks 5th Anniversary

Kansas City financial advisor ETF Portfolio Solutions is celebrating a fifth anniversary as an ETF-only manager.

One of the country's first and leading investment advisors to specialize in portfolio management of exchange traded funds, the firm was founded in 2004 by Richard D. Romey.

William E. Koehler, CFA, joined the firm in June of 2008 as chief investment officer. Mr. Koehler is a 27 year industry veteran and former head of investment oversight at American Century Investments.

ETF Portfolio Solutions is a fee-based SEC registered investment advisor that offers nine risk-adjusted and two alternative investment strategy portfolios comprised entirely of ETFs.

Direxion Introduces 3x Treasury ETFs

Direxion has added 4 new funds to its line-up of 300% ETFs.  The new ETFs provide exposure to 10 and 30 year U.S. Treasury Indexes.

The four new Direxion ETFs are:

Direxion Daily 10-Yr Treasury Bull 3x Shrs (TYD)
Direxion Daily 30-Yr Treasury Bull 3x Shrs (TMF)
Direxion Daily 10-Yr Treasury Bear 3x Shrs (TYO)
Direxion Daily 10-Yr Treasury Bear 3x Shrs (TMV)

Direxion describes its funds as tactical tools designed for active portfolio management.  To that end, the firm has changed the name of all Funds to include the word "daily".

ETF Assets Grow $31 Billion in March

Assets in the U.S. ETF industry ended March at $482 billion, up $31 billion or 6.8%.

In the March ETF Snapshot report, State Street Global Advisors found that the biggest driver of growth were International ETFs with assets up $10 billion or 12.5%.  The growth in international was partially due to increasing price levels with the MSCI EAFE index up 6.4% in dollar terms.

Fixed income ETFs also grew nearly $5 billion or 8.2%.  That compares favorably to growth in the Barclays Capital U.S. Treasury Index (up 2.2%) and the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate index (up 1.4%).

The three largest ETFs in the U.S. are the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) at $59 billion, SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) at $33 billion and iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA) at $24 billiion.

Barclays Sells iShares Business

Barclays PLC has agreed to sell its market leading iShares business to a European buyout fund for $4.4 billion.

iShares is the largest manager of ETFs in the U.S. with $232 billion in assets across 180 funds.  As of the end of March, iShares had a 48% market share, more than the next 3 managers combined - #2 State Street was at 27%, #3 Vanguard was at 9% and #4 ProShares was at 5%.

The acquirer is CVC Capital Partners Group, a Luxembourg-based private equity and investment advisor that currenlty owns 52 companies employing 447,000 people worldwide.

The majority of iShares' 620 employees, including key managers Lee Kranefuss, Mike Latham and Rory Tobin, are expected to transfer with the iShares business.

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Vanguard Launches International Small-Cap ETF

Vanguard has expanded its ETF family with the launch of the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap ETF (VSS).

The new fund tracks the FTSE Global Small Cap ex US Index and holds approximately 2,100 securities covering both developed and international markets.

The international small-cap ETF has an expense ratio of 0.38%.

Gold ETF Assets Top $38 Billion Worldwide

As of April 1, the value of gold held by products in World Gold Council-backed ETFs stood in excess of $38 billion, equivalent to 1,304 tonnes of gold.

The World Gold Council’s family of Exchange Traded Gold products are now listed on 13 stock exchanges around the world and include market leader SPDR Gold Shares (GLD).

Exchange Traded Funds are the newest way of investing in gold, enabling the metal to be traded in the form of a security on a stock exchange.

By design, this form of securitised gold investment is expected to track the gold price almost perfectly. Unlike derivative products, the securities are 100% backed by physical gold held mainly in allocated form.

The World Gold Council is a global advocate for gold and is funded by the world’s leading gold mining companies.

Claymore Recasts Euro-Pacific ETF

Claymore has changed the name and investment policy for the Claymore/Robeco Developed International Equity ETF (EEN).

The fund's new name is Claymore/BNY Mellon EW Euro-Pacific LDRs ETF (EEN).  The fund will now track the Bank of New York Mellon Euro-Pacific Select ADR Index.

The index is equal weighted and consists of US-listed equity securities from developed markets including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The fund has also lowered its expense ratio from a cap of 0.65% to 0.35%.

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